Ashley is locked in a legal battle to sell the football club to the PCP Consortium, consisting of PCP Capital Partners, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and Reuben Brothers.
But until new owners arrive, Lee thinks Premier League struggles will be par for the course on Tyneside.
"We should not be in this position,” said Lee, who was part of the Newcastle United punditry team for BT Sport.
“Steve Bruce should take some of the criticism for that. I do think we will be OK this season.”
However, Lee thinks until Ashley walks, United will remain in this underachieving predicament.
“We have got an owner who does not want to be here,” he said.
"You look around this stadium and although there are no fans in, you know we should not be in this position.
“Until something happens along those lines, nothing will change.”